It's a warzone! The Linden Index has crashed, it's economy is imploding and one after the other financial scandal is hitting the blogoshpere. Someone just shouted "The end is near!" over at twitter. Well, there is some truth in this part of the blog.
Due to Linden Labs taking actions against gambling in SL - incorporating RL law there has been a drop in money exchange. This will be a temporary setback as it will make way for new and healthy business. What is serious is that there has been theft at the WSE, the World Stock Exchange, an inside-job so it seems. Extensive coverage can be found at the Virtually Blind blog.
"The article cites well-known reports of "griefing" in Second Life -- malicious practical joking -- and employs a lot of breathless prose and distortion to make it seem like the global terror network is on the brink of using Second Life to launch a real-world terror campaign against all decent people everywhere."
There's no such thing as Second Life taking casualties. We're not talking about real life bombings. What we are talking about is griefing, which is WEB -10.0 [in other words neanderthal behaviour which is sooo 2007 (BC)]
What will be the fall-out of these stories? In my personal opinion it is way overdone. These blogposts over at Second Thoughts and Metaversed are providing the Griefers a sublime stage. They're feeding it! It seems Prokofy's fabled paranoia and FICification have entered the next stage of the conspiracy-theory-virus.
Everything new gets dubbed 2.0 these days, upto and including the Financial Times writing on gospel 2.0 or the blogoshpere getting excited about Philantropy 2.0 or Fundraising 2.0. To state that this blogpost is about wine 2.0 or distilling 2.0 would not give credit enough to the sim I visited today...
This is a tale beyond a succesful immersion - even when the island hasn't seen it's final version and opening yet. This is a tale of creating a brand 21st century style in a 19th century business.
The business I'm referring to is that of making wine, a traditional profession that -at least in Europe- brings images of old, weathered farmers and old French chateau's. It's classic and romantic and absolutely non-tech-savvy. During the 20th century we have seen the rise of new wineproduction areas, like California, South Africa and New Zealand gaining popularity over the traditional French and Spanish wines. The popularity of these new wines are partly because these wineries use modern technology to create well balanced wines and of a more constant quality than the traditional French ones.
Here's a look at the Capozzi sim
To start off by calling this a hyperjump and getting all excited about it does raise some expectations. Why?
If you look at the sim -without its context- it's nothing special. It is a quality build, as expected when built by Chip Poutine of the Prion Design Group and the guys (and girls) over at Metaversatility. Lush green rolling hills house the winery and a path that leads through the various stages of the production process. Though totally different in design than the Ben & Jerry's factory in Second Life, it's the same concept. So why the buzz?
The buzz is that this is not a brand creating a virtual presence like "we've got to be there" but it is a grand design in creating the brand itself. The Capozzi winery was established in 2005 by Josh Hermsmeyer and really is a tale of crowdsourcing as it started off on the pinotblogger blog:
"On November 18, ‘05 pinotblogger was born. Its stated purpose is to “outline the long and painful processes involved in starting and building a family winery in the Russian River Valley. While we haven’t been at it very long nor has it been particularly painful yet, I’m 99.9% certain that at least one of these adjectives will correctly describe the project in the very near future (hopefully NOT painful and short though, as that would be sad)."
Meanwhile the Pinotblogger website has been been among the top 5 wineblogs in the world and gives a great insight in the business and starting up the new winery. The virtual presence complements this strategy. It's an all in, a 21st century marketing campaign from a traditional craft, that's a hyperjump.
Read more on the build of the sim at the http://www.simvineyard.com/ website, or visit it inworld: SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Capozzi%20Winery/121/235/37
I just picked up a notice on the Dutch Second Life site on Telecom Italia Mobile. Telecom Italia subsidiary, Alice, comes to Second Life with a 4 sim strong build making it about the 12th telecom and broadband provider to immerse.
The venue is brought to Second Life by ISN (Image Solutions Network) which have their office next to the TIM-sims. As we speak there's a lot of activity going on over there, so probably a launch party. Due to my limited knowledge of Italian i thought it best to steer clear of that gig.
The TIM-sims are build around a central venue, the Alice office which is crown-shaped and lies at the intersection of the four sims. Throughout the sims several other office buildings appear.
Telecom Italia is showing that there are several ways of translating its business to the Metaspace. Throughout the sims you will find futuristic phonebooths to communicatie with Real Life and from their Alice broadband division they are bringing Italy's most popular sports; Soccer and Formula 1 racing.
According to the SLNN Alice plans on not only streaming soccermatches from the San Siro stadium (AC Milan and Inter Milan) but also play virtual matches, with a special Heads Up Display (HUD) being developed:
"While some soccer stadiums, most notably KPN's Ajax Arena, and Inter of Milano have featured broadcasts of soccer games, Telecom Italia's sim promises the first full game soccer animation, using a script and a heads up display (HUD) so that users can actually play.
We will organize real tournaments, both for soccer and for car and moto racing,” Mattia Crespi, ISN's CEO said. Alice offers online service selling videos on demand. Videos will be available at the Alice island for free, along with many videos taken from Dailymotion, an Alice video-sharing service similar to Youtube, Crespi says."
For this video on demand venue Alice worked out a fly-in movietheatre (pic right)
First of all a few random islands I've spotted today. One is a new telecom company in SL, Swisscom (Telecom provider from Switzerland) (SLURL). Aside from this sure thing there are two islands look to be holding new business as well, Generali (Banking)(SLURL) and Carpe Diem (Beds of Sweden) (SLURL) may also hold new businesses.
Secondly I ran into a cluster of islands that bring a promise of fierce competition, these islands are called:
Finally, Sony has been present with its music division, Sony BMG at the Millions of Us cluster island 'Media' but looks like they're gearing up as well in the Japanese quarters with a sim called Sony Home Pictures (SLURL).
Just once in a while you meet that occasional mouthwatering venue in Second Life. In response to my Brand Directory listing Gwen Kronsage tipped this venue in Second Life. While walking around in this virtual garden of delights I noticed quite a steady stream of visitors from every corner of the world.
This yummy garden is brought to us by Ben & Jerry's, the masters of icecream. Although BJ's must have got almost the same all-american image as the big M it's actually owned by Unilever, a Dutch multinational with over 400 well known brands.
The main venue holds a very colorfull factory, Ben & Jerry's First Environmental Factory with several dairy pastures and games. Upon entering the factory you'll get a floor plan and an overview of B&J's history.
The factory is a fun experience as you walk through the complete production process:
As an extra service there's the Ben & Jerrys orientation island, which is also in this übersweet candy-color style. A nice detail would have been to create a cream-topped hairdo, but maybe that would be too much for Second Life rookies.
I just received word via twitter that Millions of Us is giving away free land to residents with creative ideas, a grand total of 8 complete sims:
"Social media is all about participation, right? In that spirit, Millions of Us will be opening up land on several of its sims in order to host the coolest projects you can come up with. We own 8 perimeter sims, clustered around the central eponymous sim — and that’s where we invite interested and motivated residents to help us fill those sims with fantastic Second Life content."
Read all at the Millions of Us blog.
Here's a list of Real Life brands in Second Life. I think the list is nearing completion, but I surely have forgotten a few. Which ones?
For a better view have a look at the page I'm setting up here. In that overview I've added flags to show where these companies are based, or which local office took the initiative (e.g. Fiat is Italian, but brought to Second Life from Brasil and Renault from France, but brought to Second Life by the Italians).
Food & Beverage
Media & Entertainment
Transport & Logistics
Just second after I published this post I Annie Ok, founder and director of the Second Life Art Center pointed me towards an article in the Financial Times, called Gospel 2.0: Jesuits move into Second Life.
This blog was based upon the short note in Metro, one of the Dutch free newspapers.
Labels: second life
Sharp readers will have noticed I skipped no. 12 in the series of Virtual banking. No. 11 in the series was Crédit Agricole and no. 12 is Cofidis, as French banker and insurance company. That blog was titled "Have a little Cofidis" due to the Tour de France debacle.
Bank number 13 is a Swiss bank, called the BCV (Banque Cantonale Vaudoise). Here's their profile from their website:
"BCV was founded over 160 years ago to serve the people of Vaud, and we have kept our strong community focus to this day. We offer a full range of services, including retail banking, corporate banking, private banking and asset management.In addition we engage in BCV has trading activities in various financial markets. "
The island is quite craftly landscaped, stepping away from the 'normal photorealistic' trees and stuff, but doesn't hold much more than BVC's virtual Headquarters, but for a venue dating back to 7 februari 2007 it's part of the early bankers in Second Life.
In a past life I used to do some webdesign and one of the deadliest sins in the business was - and still is - putting a visitor counter on a professional website. On BCV island 2 there is one ! It's on a building which counted me as visitor no. 63 since june 17.
(Okay, it's nice if you're called Esmee Denters and get 0ver 40 million views on youTube, but it's a bummer when you're a big corporate name and get only a few visitors).
The winner will take 5.000 euro in prize money, which is a nice challenge. To make sure of the quality, Stagespace has put together quite an impressive jury team to judge the entries, among which the well known industrial designer Prof. Luigi Colani.
The closing date for submitting entries is August 30 (2007)
More info on the website http://www.pinkistgruen.de/
Peter Rogers from the Ad Agency BBH let us know that each year BBH is sponsoring a good cause, and this year it's Barnardo's, which is a charity organisation that stands up for children in need.
By just becoming a dad again in Real Life, it's hard to turn away from organisations like these. A child's life is too valuable and some have to face such ordeals. so I quickly went over to the BBH island [slurl]
Here's some images of the venue:
"On the 1st of August 2007 the advertising company BBH will have a special day for one of it's clients. It's called the Barnardos day out or BDO for short. The goal is to raise as much money for Barnardos as possible. We needed a plan so got together with Rivers Run Red a company that helps us turn ideas into reality for Second Life and came up with a vending machine selling t-shirts, simple and quick to create.
RRR were fantastic they gave all their time and talent for free and it wasn't long before we had the wonderful washing machine up and running. There's a set of Barnardos t-shirts to buy and we also managed to commission Airside to create a unique design to go alongside. We're hoping that later there will be more special items from friends of Barnardos, so watch this space. " says BBH consultant Pete Rogers.
Yesterday didn't see a spectaculair stage in the Tour de France, but a media circus and extremely volatile situation with Rabobanks' Rasmussen under attack and Astana's Vinokourov being tested positive on doping.
Hardly a time to take a Tour de SL, but I jumped in at Cofidis island.
Here's the Wiki knowledge about Cofidis:
"Cofidis is a French company, one of the Otto Group's financial services providers.
Founded in 1982 by 3 Suisses International in cooperation with Cetelem, Cofidis specializes in the consumer credit business of the 3 Suisses Group.
Again it is a Financial Institute coming to Second Life, but focussing on their Pro Tour cycling team
The grid is borked, Technorati down. What is going on?
Here's the report on Mashable:
July 24, 2007 — 03:11 PM PDT — by Pete Cashmore
A major glitch for websites and web companies based in the SOMA district of San Francisco: a massive power outage cut the supply to datacenters including those of AdBrite, Craigslist, Netflix, Technorati and SixApart. Around 20,000 people are said to have been plunged into darkness, but the number of web users affected must be in the millions.
Those affected are customers of Pacific Gas and Electric.
Today I had an exciting talk with Jonathan Himoff, the founder of Rezzable, also known as RightasRain Rimbaud inside Second Life. The company's website itself is empty for now, but he was kind enough to send me the new corporate logo.
Since I posted on the Greenies - the softlaunch, it hit the blogosphere quite massively. Here are some posts:
The Greenies are getting a buzz. Aside from some criticism and crooky post in the Herald, I've heard nothing but cheers for the Greenies.
Me taken by Verde, one of the candid camera greenies.
Vint Falken wrote on her blog that she met up with a few people on the opening party, but here's the news: The official opening party still has to come!
Rezzable's official Opening Party: July 31st.
There will be a press preview around 12 am SLT and Jon really got me going for this one. There will be reveiled a sculpture of spectaculair nature, one like you've never seen before.
I jumped and said: "lemme see, lemme see", but his answer was: "Sorry mate, you'd be dying knowing and not be able to blog it."
Shortly afterwards there will be the official public launch.
So, who's behind all of this? Caleb Booker a.k.a Onder Skall asked in his report. Is Rezzable doing this for a company? Who's putting up the cash? I asked Jon if this was a signed contract or just an expensive business card.
The Greenies is a Rezzable sim allright, no contractor, just purely a statement by Rezzable, but not to be viewed as an expensive business card, but their Proof of Concept. Rezzable wants to make sure the (virtual) world knows Rezzable is able to write a new chapter in User Experience.
The chapter will continue, there are more sims coming up!
Finally, if you're out there thinking "I can do this too!" give RightasRain Rimbaud a call inside Second Life as Rezzible is hiring. Rezzable is a new, small, London based firm with great ideas and projects coming up.
There's another bank in Second Life, after BNP Paribas the second French Bank in SL is Credit Agricole. I've never heard from them other than that they're sponsoring one of the Tour de France teams, but that's about it.
Here's a little Wiki-knowledge on them:
Crédit Agricole SA is a semi co-operative bank, being majority owned by 41 French Caisses Régionales de Crédit Agricole Mutuel. Its subsidiaries are:
Okay, enough of the promo. We understand they're pretty big in Real Life. But I'm not sure they're big in SL yet. Their focus, like ING, is not on banking in this virtual world, or establishing a presence but on collaboration, mutualism as one of their hosts, Caliel Writer told me.
The Institute for Mutualism (have to watch typos here or it'll get mutilated) also exists in the Real World, though this isn't a replica.Other parts of the sim are the boat, which is a part of history, space to set up future franchises and a piece of nature "where we can relax and which we should save and cherish" according to Caliel.
I'm by far too exited on getting out some new info on Rezzable, so I'll keep this short. I have to, since I logged out of SL so fast I forgot to save my transcript of the conversation with the kind Caliel. For more info, read Ambling in Second Life's Credit to Crédit Agricole.
One last remark though that should be mentioned. Right now everything is in French, but they're working on getting out the info in English as well.
It's baseball time, big time as Major League Baseball finds it's hometurf in Second Life. Near the Electric Sheep Island you will find the sim inspirationally called 'Baseball' and is the virtual home to the Yankee Stadium. The NY Yankee's are the main course of this sim, but there's promo room for the Boston Socks and a few others.
Sport is something people can look forward to, enjoy. Everyone's got its favorite team or player, whichever sport you may like. Sports generate gazillions in merchandise. Sport is big business, and no wonder the focus on the Baseball sim lies on merchandise, T-shirts, trainingpants, tops, caps, hats 'n bats and gloves, as well as the hip bling bling medallions.
The stadium itself has a few chairs less than it real life counterpart to keep within server limits.
I can't really see much added value for baseball to come to Second Life except for merchandise. Fans would like to wear their teams' colors even in virtual life. Why not take the game to another level, chance bats to broomsticks and organise a true Quidditch game.
J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series are immensely popular and its final episode, the Deathly Hallows just broke every thinkable sales record, so I won't get into explaining what Quidditch is, but Second Life is the platform in which you can break away from gravity and really can script broomsticks.
I know this would probably mean a huge copyright row(ling) if you'd just started building a Hogwarts courtyard with a Quidditch field, but it would surely look better than our gravity-bound real life attempts, such as this one by Reuters.
Whilst trying to get some new Dutch sims in front of my camera I stumbled into Diveworld, close to Dutch content creators DNB Media. Suspecting a tie in I went in, and immersed in front of a PADI office. And guess what, my wife's work is just next to a PADI diving center.
However, PADI isn't Dutch, it's everywhere, it's the Professional Association of Diving Instructors is the world's largest recreational diving membership and diver training organization founded in 1966 by John Cronin and Ralph Erikson.
It's HQ is based in California and all over the world you will find Diving Centers using the PADI method. PADI is the way the world learns to dive.
Their main venue - at least, the place where you immerse - is a 2-storied infocenter with instruction movies on diving, telling you what the gear is all about and links to the e-learning pages on the PADI website.
But off course, diving isn't about instruction, especially not in Second Life where you can dive without using all that cumbersome equipment. It's time to get out to the beach!
It's not the real thing, but it looks good.The sim isn't completely finished yet, and this beautiful reef is just a few yards wide yet. I'm curious to see how PADI is going to use this virtual venue in educational and promotional ways.
The Belgian Second Life Crew reports (again in Dutch) on:
3PointD seems to be too busy to keep up blogging, but a few interesting posts did come through:
Nick Wilson at Metaversed seems to be gearing up in Challenging 3PointD as the buzzplace and reports on:
KZero reports on:
Finally, Scobleizer -who's not been in Second Life for over a year now, did a blog on SL again; Second Life is trying to get rid of the nasties, which turned out to become a lively discussion between Robert Scoble, Spindoctor Eric Rice and Information Week's Mitch Wagner.
One of the first articles I read was in the TV-Guide of the Dutch Evangelical Broadcaster EO which reported on Second Life in april this year, soon afterwards followed by an article on Gamers.nl.
Here's a two observations I've made:
Second Life doesn't differ from the real world all that much. In Real Life sex is big business and the metaverse seems to be making the same developments as the early internet, that was seen as the digital sodom and gomorra about 15 years ago.
Nothing strange to Real Life is strange to Second Life either, but by being such a relative small and niche community, it's easy to spot these element. These elements will remain in the Metaverse, and will probably be over-represented as long as normal business hasn't found real purpose in worlds like this.
Many people come to Second Life with a purpose, but there are those out there that have no purpose in Second Life, nor in First Life. There are people hanging out at the Welcome area without a purpose in life, other than sit, chat and provoke. With regular intervals you can spot demons and Goths there, some intentional, some being mere teens without a clue to what their avatars convey, beyond 'just looking cool'
If it comes to churches in Second Life it should not be about establishing a 'church' in the Metaverse, but about being a good Samaritan. Find these people whose lives are empty and are looking for meaning. It has surprised me that a successfull programme like the Alpha Course hasn't shown up yet in Second Life.
This week's Geek Meet saw a new Gadgeteer episode with a wide variety of speakers.
Fortunately there were some 'technical issues' that caused sound to be unfavorable. Fortunately since it's easier to blog this way.
"To give you a quick intro, The Electric Sheep company has long been known as a consulting company for virtual worlds, but our business goals always included building a consumer software business. Our goal is to create technologies to make virtual worlds easier to use and make information flow more efficiently. We are launching a new brand around these consumer technologies called OnRez, with the first step launching next Tuesday. Shopping has always been important to us, which is why we bought SLBoutique in early 2006, but while we focused on our consulting business SLBoutique was neglected. That changed early this year when we looked closely at the technology and decided we needed to overhaul the entire SLBoutique system. On tuesday we're launching Shop OnRez. Our goal overall is to make shopping easier wherever you are, and to make life a lot easier for the small businesses of SL."
Next up is Metamart's Robbie Kiama, a Geek-Meet regular and dedicated twitterati.
"Let me first tell you about meta mart and how it was started: First of all we are all about making solutions, I hope you will agree with me that back in 2005 it was hard to find stuff in SL because you had to Travel all the places to search for quality items and that's when the idea came - to do a Store that walks up to you and not vice versa. So In 2006 we introduced I think a revolutionary system - Store on a HUD, it was slow and laggy. Since then we have thought aA LOT, did lot of research and figured out - that Search is greatly needed.
In 2007 Januuary we introduced the first Store in a HUD that allows SEARCH, in 2007 march we thought that Comunity is extremely important and introduced MEta MArt with Comunity Ratings. So TODAY we are releasing new solution and I think this will be extremely great for the comunity. I hope you will agree with me - that one of the most fun things in Second Life is Seeing cool places and I think finding one isn't that easy of a task. So we are introducing a new service: metaTravel."
Today's third speaker was Anjin Meili, one of the Sculpt guru's of Second Life, driving home a "Sim in a Prim" message.
"When I first jumped on the Grid, I felt that having a model of a parcel I was building on to be highly valuble. My first mapping system first rezzed blocks, 1 for every 4x4 meter parcel, into a chunky lego map looking affair. This was refined to using polygons, but that took two prims for every 4x4 meter parcel. To map a full sim required 10,000 primatives... Not exactly usable for anything more then 'Woohoo!!! Check this out man!'
I recall when I heard about sculpties... I told my wife, Elzbiet, that they would solve my problem. I could use them to create the terrain! I was to young to play on the beta grid though, so had to just wait until they made the main grid. But as soon as they made it, within the first hour, we had our first sculpted maps.
I recall us popping over here to Dr Dobbs island, and using the LSL Logo sandbox to rez a mapping pod and make maps of this Island. The same day Sculpties were released to Second Life. As one cannot make a sculptie on grid, the challange was to provide an easy to use system that integrated with a backend capable of making the finished textures. We worked hard to build such a system, and made the on grid piece so simple, we feel its akin to buying a can of coke. You open the box, pop the top, and when its done, the probe dies and nothing is left but a URL to a finished map sculptie.
Our gadget makes these sculpted maps. Lemmie dig one out and toss it up here real quick. We have a slogan for it: Map your Sim, in just one Prim!"
That was just awesome ! This has to be the übergadget of the year in my opinion, and soon to be available on Electric Sheep's OnRez site for a lousy $L 100.. not even 50 cents in real dough
It's time you kept your records straight. Have pen and pencil ready at your virtual counter to register every sold hair-extention.
Actually, your transaction history doesn't last long. 5 days at the moment, so you can fool your accountant every week. Accountants being as they are don't like that and are coming to Second Life to poke around your virtual proceedings.
The Dutch magazine 'the Accountant' runs a story on Second Life title "Second Life, a legal no-mans land" on accountancy in Cyberspace. For an accountancy paper it's remarkably positive on Virtual Worlds, especially in light of the recent negative media sweep. Here are a few lines:
"Not only a new world is created, but a complete economy with new business models. Accountants need to get into these developments or run the risk of being out of business" "There are people that still consider Second Life as a hype, but it looks like they are proven wrong, just like the internet-sceptics 15 years ago. This kind of virtual worlds is rapidly developing not only in technological and graphical but also in economic ways."
"There are people that still consider Second Life as a hype, but it looks like they are proven wrong, just like the internet-sceptics 15 years ago. This kind of virtual worlds is rapidly developing not only in technological and graphical but also in economic ways."
Price Waterhouse Coopers is looking into al sorts of legal and financial aspects of Second Life and also the Congressional US Joint Economic Comittee will come forth with a study on the fiscal issues in "virtual worlds such as Second Life and World of Warcraft"
The first two pictures are of the CPA Island (Certified Public Accountants) founded by the MACPA, the Maryland Association for CPA's of which the first image is the virtual office of the KAWG&F , a large Maryland based CPA frim which immersed in Februari 2007. The last image is that of Berk Accountants, a Dutch accountancy firm, also present in Second Life since februari 2007.
The Dutch accountants primarily focus on getting in touch with Young Professionals. Hans Koning, Managing partner of Berk says “Our branche is a relatively closed world, while our future colleagues are used to much more openess through the internet. We try to anticipate in this."
During April and May Sogeti Netherlands has organised a series of seven workshops on Second Life for its employees and customers. Damanios Thetan from Damanicorp, an experienced and well known content creator explained how building and scripting worked in several workshops on advanced building.
Last tuesday a new episode was written as Damanios and yours truly VeeJay Burns gave an introduction to Second Life for a group of 120 Sogeti employees (including C-Level) and clients.
VeeJay gave a historic overview passing web 1.0 to web 2.0 and the current evolution in web 3D whereas Damanios provided the technical details on building.
Earlier this year we saw a van Gogh exposition where you could walk into one of van Gogh's paintings and June saw the coming of Brian Eno's 77 million paintings to Second Life to name a few. Due to its very nature Second Life is becoming a haven for artists, like Paris was in the days of van Gogh and Monet.
This very nature is Second Life is its incredible freedom that makes it so easy to create new things, a freedom that can't be found to this extent in any other virtual world. Second Life gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself inside art, to participate instead of observe. Several studies of Second Life have reported that a large part of Second Life's inhabitants have backgrounds in creative professions. These creative artistst were among the first settlers to conquest this paradise and have a long track record but many new artists start to explore Second Life now as well, as a creative platform in which they can let you experience what could only be visualised on canvas before.One of these artists with a long track record is Robbie Dingo, who just came up with another sublime machinima (a movie shot in a virtual world) to show the incredible potential of Second Life. On his blog he introduces the movie:
"Ever looked at your favorite painting and wished you could wander inside, to look at it from different perspectives? Spend a single day in one of mine, from early sunrise on a new day, to dusk when lights come on in cosy homes; through a peaceful night, till morning."
Two days ago I remarked on this blog that I hadn't heard a lot on Alyssa LaRoche a.k.a. Aimee Weber lately. Almost instantaniously she proved me wrong. Here's the comment left on the blogpost:
"Thanks for the interest in Aimee Weber Studio. I've actually been so busy, I haven't had time to update my website. Since the last entry on the AWS website, Aimee Weber Studio has done the following:
Following on this post I had quite a long IM session with Aimee. On this blog and other blogs there have been lots of comments on old style media that are currently in a negative swing on Second Life. In the regular 'print' the current reading is that companies are getting out of Second Life, have second thoughts, or are very much disappointed. This certainly is not the case for Aimee Weber Studios.
"Not on my end. There are certainly lots of inquiries. I am sure the bubble burst will happen eventually. Which I don't think I mind. I enjoy projects that use SL as an educational platform as much as the advertising stuff. Not that a bubble burst would indicate the irrelevance of SL as a marketing platform."
We were quite in agreement right now SL is offering more freedom than any other platform. Maybe in 5 years SL will be overtaken, but for now it's the ideal environment to explore the Metaverse.
One of the projects Aimee has been working on is a new book on advanced content creation, titled "Creating your World" which will be available at Amazon shortly. As far as I could tell from the previews the book is completely in style with the official Guide to Second Life, giving it that familiar touch and will be an interesting insight into virtual creationism.
"I tried to avoid simple "how-to" explanations in favor of providing a deeper understanding of what is going on behind the scenes. Not just how to build with prims, but WHY different kinds of prims act the way they do." says Aimee.
This is getting a regular habit I fear. Right now I'm having a hard time publishing to my blog. It's been barely a month ago that I upgraded my hostingaccount from 50 to 100 Mb and DataTraffic limits from 2 Gb/month to 4 Gb per month.
Now, halway through July I'm at 3.2 Gb Data Traffic already and have grown beyond 100Mb.
Maybe I should start considering getting a sponsor as well.
To look on the bright side of life: In the past month my technorati rating has rocketed from autority 26 to authority 50, and closing in on the top 100K blogs. Not bad for a 4 month old blog.
In the past months I've seen various people comment on and link to my blog, such as:
Today I got a preview of their first big sim release, and it ROCKS!
"The Greenies are on the Grid! They are somewhat lost in SL, but forgot to try to find their way home. Just some kooky little aliens, enjoying whatever they discover in the metaverse.
The Greenies Home was based on the work of one of SL's most talented and prolific artist, Lightwaves. Rezzable Productions has taken the initial ideas of the Greenies and developed this exciting, top-quality entertainment area.
The Greenies home is good fun, built to maximize the SL user experience. We have focused on exploration, fun activities and giving SL residents plenty of room to goof around! We hope you enjoy!"
The tour starts underground, be sure to get the fantastic freebee jetpack, jetboots and helmet.
In the past few months I've seen quite a few NGO's enter Second Life, such as the Red Cross, Disabled Sports, Flying Doctors, the MacArthur Foundation , Dance 4 Life and a few others. This sudden onrush kept nagging me.
When it comes to the Blogosphere there's two blogs that stick out when it comes to keeping track of these things: First of all there's Beth's Blog that has a keen eye on everything Non Profit and secondly the fabulous Ugotrade blog where Tara5 Oh (left) regularly posts real works of love and labour on Mixed Reality and with a good heart to the poor and needy of this world.
This post will probably be a work of labour and very Ugotradish in size and subject as well...
This past week I got spammed by the ElfenCircle for a Relay For Life building entry and that nagged me again. After rereading some of the entries on both the aforementioned blogs I started thinking on this post. When Al 'superscooper' Kronos blogged Virtuool and The Fight Against Cancer I knew this was a post I had to make.
It's actually a while since I've been giving NGO's much of a thought. We, the Dutch, have always been generous givers when it comes to relief aid and mission workers in Africa and Asia. In the past years this culture is slowly changing. It's not that people are getting greedy, but the way they want to spend their money has changed.
In the 20th century it was a natural thing to pick 2 or 3 (or more) non profit organisations and sponsor them annually. Many organisations organised themselves accordingly: You knew how much sponsors you'd have, so you know what next years'budget will look like.
The 21st century do-gooder has a different mindset though. No longer long-term commitments, long term sponsorship, but occasional, dedicated sponsorship, sort of hit-and-run style philantrophy.
This is causing traditional NGO's a severe headache since they see shaky budgets and worry about keeping all their relief aid workers at work. This isn't about 'huge disasters' those are incendent based by definition and a TV rally for Live Aid (1985) is no different than the Tsunami Fundraising a few years back; on both occasions dedicated sponsorship without long term commitment.
In short, generally speaking, NGO's need to find new ways of attracting long term sponsors: the 21st century calls for Fundraising 2.0. The question is: Is Second Life a good platform to expirment with.
When it comes to actual fundraising, Second Life is surely a no-no. Tip jars containing L$ 1.600 dollars barely make up for a weeks rent. Virtual World Campaigns are not about raising enough money to fund a relief aid mission to Timbuktu.
As I mentioned in my blogpost on the Red Cross entry at Second Life, depicting a disaster zone, one way is to create awareness, convey a mood or show people the challenges in such areas. This awareness is much more valuable than the lousy linden bucks it brings in tips.
There is a thin line though; It is great to raise awareness but the cost is a consideration. The presence should be sponsored, not funded with sponsorship money.
In search of awareness and commitment I think NGO's overstepped themselves a little. Virtual Worlds such as Second Life are to small to make a difference - yet. It's still a niche thing.
In my opinion the focuspoint of NGO's and Philantrophy should be at the heart of Web 2.0. Relief Aid in most cases is all about commitment. Commitment in small circles of sponsors that want to be informed. Web 2.0's social bookmarking and tagging is offering the ideal tools to create close range awareness. Think of Fair Trade and Relief Aid widgets for Facebook. Mission based YouTube or Flickr streams...
"After an enormous hype om Second Life more and more 'experts' are getting sceptic on the added value of Second Life to business. Online visitors aren't big shoppers, but are mainly looking for entertainment" reads the introduction. Where did this come from? There's hardly a real life company to be found in Second Life that's actually selling stuff. If it ain't on offer, we can't buy it.
"Successfully promoting your company inside the virtual world of Second Life shows to be harder than expected. More and more marketing departments conclude that Second Life residents feel like visiting their online stores. "Actually there isn't any convincing reason to be present in Second Life" says Brian McGuinness, a Hotelchain bigshot in the LA times, and thus his company left Second Life"
Most of these 'marketing departments' probably have never seen Second Life from the inside. Many companies just use Second Life as another medium for corporate communication... without understanding it. It's back to the early 90's when serious companies launched crappy (excuse me) Frontpage websites.
In most cases there wont be a ROI (return on investment) indeed for the year to come, or even the year after. When will companies see that Second Life is not a commercial, a product flyer?
There are companies that dig SL though. Have a look at Intel and Cisco giving tech meetings and classes on Java and other skills. take a look at Philips taking surveys, or at ABN Amro organising sponsor events for non profits.
Here's the updated Metaverse Map with an overview of 2D and 3D virtual worlds.
The large image (1024 x 1024) can be found here.Use the map freely, links will be appreciated though ;-)
I know I left out Club Pinguin and Three Rings (couldn't find any good logo's) and probably missed out on a few barbie-worlds....
Labels: second life
Over a year ago, myself, Johnny Ming, Cristiano Midnight, and Walker Spaight launched Secondcast, one of the first podcasts about Second Life. A few episodes later, we added on Torrid Midnight. The rest is podcast history. Thus far we've recorded over 60 episodes, and average tens thousands of downloads a week.
When we started, Second Life was much, much different. There were less than 50,000 active users of SL (compared to 1.75 million now), almost no podcasts about it, and only 2000 signups a day. The community was still small enough that not enough news was generated to make it a staple of every podcast. Corporations weren't really moving into SL, save for a few stragglers (Wells Fargo, for instance). We all had different jobs.
Today, 4 out of the 5 original hosts work either directly or indirectly for metaverse development companies. There are podcasts about SL everywhere, including daily news roundups. The 8500+ sims of SL simulate an area of land larger than metropolitan Orlando, Florida. There are over 250 blogs about SL that people can read.
If you're a longtime listener of Secondcast, you know that quality has been... let's say iffy at best lately. Missed deadlines, lowered frequency of episodes, the departure of Torrid (come back Torrid!), boring subject matter.
The fact of the matter is, we're kinda stuck in neutral. Most of us log into SL now to work, not to screw around. We're too busy to see what the community is really up to, minus corporate press releases and the occasional fluffy guest. Fluffy guests and press releases make for a stifingly boring podcast.
I won't lie; some of us are getting bored. I still love doing Secondcast, but getting everyone to agree to a time to do it is becoming difficult, doubly so because we never know what we're doing for the show. Secondcast has always been about fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants journalism/entertainment, but if we don't have a solid recording plan, things go south (unless we're very fortunate). If it's a show about some new corporation/project done by one of the metaverse development companies, I pretty much tune out. Yes, during recording. You know I'm bored of the subject matter if you don't hear me make any sort of joke or counter-argument for a while: chances are I'm surfing the 'net while everyone else asks the questions.
So what I'm asking is, what would you guys, the longtime listeners of Secondcast, like for us to become? Be as creative as you'd like; more guests, less hosts (firing some of us), new hosts (replacing some of us), new format (video, call-in, audience-based, blog based) ?
I still love Secondcast; it's generally one of the highlights of an otherwise very busy week. I want to continue doing it, but it doesn't mean much if nobody's around to listen to us ramble on about Radio Shacks and Chuckie Cheeses.
What should we do? We're listening.
As for social bookmarking, it's got potential, but for genealogy freaks it's a start. The real genfreaks are desperately waiting for a GEDCOM interface.
GEDCOM is the standard format for importing and exporting family trees and works with known programs such as Aldfaer, phpGedview and TNG and every other thinkable Genealogy software. Imagine I've got to retype all 5,000 family members (back to 1500) into this app when I've already have them databased!
As far as the forums are a good thing to go by, Geni is offering a GEDCOM export (in alpha stage), but GEDCOM (v. 5.5) import isn't sorted out yet. It was planned for this release, but is delayed.
In short, a project to watch closely as it has a lot of potential. If Second Life integrates with the web it will not be long untill we see the first widgets and toolbars appear.
Here some mandatory snapshots provided by Katherine:
At the start of this blog I wrote that the Trojan War is long gone... There might be a catch.
For now, the AjaxLife is running on Katherine's server. Some of my friends were wondring what it would in terms of password logging.
This is the official statement on Katherine's blog:
"If you want to use it, and trust that I won’t look at your password (which I can’t, and nothing that this does is logged, but you should always be careful and stuff), you can test it at https://secure.katharineberry.co.uk/ajaxlife-s/login.kat"
Pricing for this insurance is at L$ 200 per 6 months (0,57 Euro), the insurance has a limit of L$ 10.000 per claim.
This first image is a photoscreen in front of the real build. It's set up with a photocamera and a circle on the floor will tell you where to stand. Take your picture here, and have it printed on your Real Life credit card.
The build itself is inline with the current trends to let go of traditional 'gravity-bound' architecture and is basically an open banking floor with two hovering skyscrapers.
Labels: second life
Mitch Wagner (Information Week) quotes:
Also Robert Scoble keeps on rambling on the iPone (and this is just the last 3 days)
1. Top area for products
2. Center Area for Logo and Landmark
3. Lower Left for online/ofline status vendor and
4. Lower Right for website and other stuff
It's a little early to tell if this is going to be the next big SL tool since it's just launched and the directory has to be filled yet. A good thing to take into consideration might be KZero's thoughts on "Why Billboards don't work in Second Life" Normal Billboards will surely not work for Real Life brands trying to get people to visit their sim or website, but in this case it might work for the Metabrands.
Tonight at the Things to do you can get a tour and learn how it was done (1 PM SLT)
Here's some pics from the things to do (churches always look better with people in it)
Finally there's some points that the lot of them (Pownce, Jaiku and Twitter) could take notice of: In this day and age of social networks and metaverses we all know eachother by different names, our real name, our social name, our metaverse name and what have you got. An extensive addressbook would come in handy.
Anyway, here's a few other blogposts
Worth mentioning is Tao Takashi's notes on the lack of mobile support and RSS:
"What Pownce is missing is the mobile side of things. You cannot yet send or receive posts via SMS and additionally only one RSS feed is there right now which is the feed of your and your friend’s posts but not the one of the main timeline. Moreover an API seems to be there as they created an external application using AIR themselves and somebody made a Facebook application but it’s not open or documented it seems."